Homeless numbers rise in Christchurch

SHELLEY ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 09/07/2014

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Eight young men have joined the ranks of Christchurch's homeless in the past few days.

Daniel*, the 26 year-old featured in our article following a five-week investigation into homelessness in Christchurch, said eight new people had arrived on the city's streets. He was trying to ensure the men did not get into trouble.

The eight were not on the streets during our investigation into homelessness. Daniel did not know the reasons for the eight joining street life.

"For the moment, we just try to keep them out of trouble - that stuff comes later," he said.

Christchurch City Council housing committee chairman Glenn Livingstone said changes were needed to prevent homelessness.

"It is unconscionable that we have people sleeping on the street with no shelter," he said.

His committee would consider supporting emergency housing or shelters for vulnerable people and forming a strategic approach to homelessness in Christchurch.

Christchurch City Mission, which manages the men's and women's shelters, said investment from the city council was vital.

City missioner Michael Gorman said: "Government and city council are the only ones who can make a meaningful contribution given the enormity of the situation.

"The need for housing is not just at that level [homelessness] but at that next level of person who cannot find affordable housing - we have to help."

Daniel* said he and his friends had shifted from the Department of Conservation "hut" near Latimer Square.

It has a new occupant - a man fresh out of jail with no housing to move into.

Mickey, also featured in Saturday's story, is off the streets and living in a van. He is three months clean of synthetic cannabis use after working with social agency He Waka Tapu.

He said the transition from being homeless to living in a "warm bed" was difficult.

His "hole in the wall" in Cashel Mall had been passed on to another homeless man.

Cameron*, who three months ago was wearing a suit, is still on the streets.

Uncle and his dog B also remain on the streets.

Meanwhile, Amy Burke's Help for the Homeless Facebook page has gone on to become a social media charity sensation. Burke is searching for a container to store the donated items - she is having trouble finding her living room under the pile of donations.

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- The Press

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